49ers: Former GM thinks Trent Williams is an upgrade over Joe Staley

49ers (Photo by G Fiume/Getty Images)
49ers (Photo by G Fiume/Getty Images) /

The San Francisco 49ers have effectively replaced the retired Joe Staley with Pro Bowl offensive tackle Trent Wiliams. And one former executive believes that the team has upgraded.

The San Francisco 49ers saw the retirement of the legendary Joe Staley this offseason after 13 incredible seasons with the team. A seven-time Pro Bowler, Staley is among the best offensive lineman of his generation and one of the greatest 49ers of all-time.

In seemingly every situation, the loss of a player of Staley’s caliber — who was still playing at a very high level — would be impossible to make up for. But the 49ers front office have done their best to ensure that isn’t the case.

More from Golden Gate Sports

Once it became clear that Staley planned on retiring, the 49ers sprung into a contingency plan that involved trading for disgruntled offensive tackle Trent Williams. The former Washington Redskins superstar had sat out all of 2019 dealing with injury issues and a contract dispute.

But the last time we saw him on the field, he was in the midst of a seven-year Pro Bowl streak that saw him play in the NFL’s all-star game every year from 2012 to 2018. It was the longest active streak from any player at the position.

Williams has been an elite offensive tackle for a long time and if he’s anything like his pre-injury self, the 49ers likely won’t experience much of a drop-off at all. But could they be in store for an upgrade at the position?

At least be former NFL executive — one with extensive knowledge of the situation — appears to believe so.

Former 49ers and Redskins general manager Scot McCloughan thinks that Williams will be an upgrade over the recently-retired 49ers legend. In an interview with the San Francisco Chronicle, McCloughan had the following to say about the two stalwart tackles.

"“Joe Staley is a really good tackle — don’t get me wrong. But he ain’t Trent Williams. He hasn’t been Trent Williams. And won’t be Trent Williams when Trent’s career is over and you compare them.”"

More from San Francisco 49ers

Those are some strong words from a man who has been around both players a lot. McCloughan famously traded up for Staley way back in the 2007 NFL Draft, but he still feels as though Williams is unquestionably the better player.

Williams was ranked inside the top-15 tackles in the NFL by Pro Football Focus every season from 2011 to 2017 — two of which he was ranked No. 1 at his position. He slipped to a still very respectable 20th-best in 2018 putting together almost a full decade of dominance.

That said, only two offensive tackles received a higher cumulative PFF grade over the last decade than Staley — that being Joe Thomas and Jason Peters.

No matter your take on the issue, it’s clear that the 49ers were huge winners of the offseason if for no other reason than this trade.

Next. 49ers: Analyzing the 4 hardest games on the 2020 schedule. dark

Staley and Williams have both had incredible careers, but it will take an awful lot to replace the legendary Staley in the minds and hearts of 49ers faithful.